One of the best things you can do for your health is to be proactive about your skin care. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in American adults, and squamous cell carcinoma is a form of skin cancer that affects about 700,000 patients each year. At Tru-Skin Dermatology, we encourage adults and teens to get regular skin exams that aid in early detection and easier treatment of any form of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma. Even if you’re visiting us for another, unrelated cosmetic treatment, we can explain what symptoms to look for and note any suspicious skin features in our Austin office.
If it’s been a while since your last skin exam, please take a look at our online schedule of Free Skin Cancer Screenings across the city. Our team leaves the office and heads out into communities to provide potentially life-saving cancer screenings in a neighborhood near you. We do this because early detection can have a big impact on your treatment options at Tru-Skin Dermatology. Contact us today to make an appointment or visit a mobile screening location, but either way our team is here to offer multiple surgical and nonsurgical treatment options in a personalized treatment plan to stop squamous cell carcinoma from spreading.
Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the three most common skin cancers in the country, and it’s typically the result of sun exposure over a period of many years. Diligent daily use of high SPF sunscreen over factor 30 is the best way to protect yourself from both squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Patients who use tanning beds are also more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, so opt for tanning sprays or embrace your natural skin color rather than seeking out harmful UV rays from the sun or a salon.
Unlike Basal Cell Carcinoma, which is usually found on the face and sometimes the upper body, teens and adults can develop squamous cell carcinoma anywhere, including limbs, in and around the mouth, or genitals. This form of skin cancer also spreads and grows faster than basal cell carcinoma, making regular self-checks and dermatologist exams very valuable for early detection.
Visually identifying squamous cell carcinoma isn’t always easy for non-medical professionals, as it can look like other skin cancers or skin conditions. Some of the most common early signs include rough, red, scaly patches that remain flat but don’t heal. Persistent open sores are another warning sign of either basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas. Finally, instead of a smooth and shiny lump or growth that could indicate basal cell carcinoma, a rough and/or reddish bump that bleeds or develops a crust may be an early sign of squamous cell carcinoma.
About 40% to 60% of these signs and symptoms actually turn out to be actinic keratosis (AK), which are pre-cancerous growths that have the potential to progress into squamous cell carcinomas. In order to
conclusively diagnose AKs or any form of skin cancer, you’ll need to make an appointment to see a dermatologist at Tru-Skin Dermatology in Austin.
In 2018, one of our doctors, Dr. Ladd, became the elected president of the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. He continues to help patients with cutting-edge diagnostic and treatment techniques. If you notice any changes to your skin that don’t heal themselves within a few weeks, it’s time to make an appointment in our office. Even if the growth you notice is simply a harmless mole or wart, it’s much safer for a licensed dermatologist to make that determination and even offer a cosmetic solution than to leave a cancerous development undiagnosed.
If the dermatologist sees unusual skin features, we’ll perform a short, simple biopsy to test a small skin sample from the affected area for any cancerous cells. If the test results are positive for squamous cell carcinoma or another form of skin cancer, Tru-Skin dermatology can provide several options to treat the cancer quickly and to effectively prevent it from spreading.
Your treatment options may vary based on your skin condition, your medical history, and the size of the skin cancer. FDA-approved, nonsurgical laser treatment and radiation therapy are available when squamous cell carcinoma is spotted early. Tru-Skin Dermatology is a certified Center of Excellence for nonsurgical Superficial Radiation Therapy using SRT-100 Vision™. This advanced imagery tool allows for highly precise radiation targeting and dosage with an extremely high success rate.
Surgical options include the minimally invasive Mohs surgery, wide local excision, and electrodesiccation and curettage. Mohs surgery is a popular and reliable option with a 95% cure rate in squamous cell carcinoma. Mohs surgery results in minimal scarring because of its careful process: Your dermatologist only the area of skin diseased by the skin cancer one slice at a time, testing each one until no more cancer cells appear in the skin tissue. Deeper carcinomas may require traditional excision to remove the tumor, while electrodesiccation and curettage adds electricity to the procedure to destroy cancer cells and cauterize the incision.
Please visit our Skin Cancer [https://www.tru-skin.com/medical-dermatology/skin-cancer] page for more details about both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options to address the most common forms of skin care right in our office.
Tru-Skin Dermatology cares deeply about the health and wellness of our entire Austin community. In addition to our Free Skin Cancer Screenings year-round in different locations, Dr. Ladd and his wife Lurleen host the healthcare talk radio show, Dr. Dan Show, every Sunday at 11 a.m. on KLBJ AM, 590, and FM, 99.7. Residents all around Austin engage with our team on social media and through our newsletter to receive support and information about skin health and dermatology news.
Tru-Skin Dermatology is also honored to donate a portion of every service, patient visit, and product purchased at our office to The Shade Project, a skin cancer prevention nonprofit initiative started by Dr. Ladd and his wife. Visit www.theshadeproject.org today to learn more or to get directly involved.